Politico: HUD to propose more hurdles to prove housing discrimination

Politico, July 31, 2019: HUD to propose more hurdles to prove housing discrimination

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is circulating a proposal to make it more difficult to bring discrimination claims under the Fair Housing Act.

The update to HUD’s 2013 disparate impact rule would require plaintiffs to meet a five-step threshold to prove unintentional discrimination, replacing the current three-step “burden-shifting” approach. It would also give defendants more leeway to rebut the claims, according to a copy of the proposal obtained by POLITICO.

It’s the latest effort by the Trump administration to roll back the Obama administration’s use of disparate impact — the legal theory that holds business and governments accountable for practices that disproportionately affect minorities even if no discrimination was intended — to root out discrimination.

Under the proposed rewrite, plaintiffs would have to establish that the challenged practice or policy is “arbitrary, artificial and unnecessary” and allege a “robust causal link” between the practice and the disparate impact.

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